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International Public Partnerships, (‘INPP’, the ‘Company’), the FTSE 250-listed infrastructure investment company, is pleased to announce its results for the six months to 30 June 2023.
The Company has maintained strong operational and financial performance, despite a volatile macroeconomic backdrop, which is testament to the resilience of the Company’s diversified investment portfolio and active asset management approach in generating predictable, long-term and inflation-linked cash flows.
FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE
Shareholder Returns and Revised Dividend Targets
- The Company has continued to deliver robust, predictable shareholder returns.
- Recognising the inflationary environment, the Board determined it was an appropriate time to further realise the benefits of the portfolio’s inflation-linkage and is pleased to announce a 5% increase in the 2023 target dividend to 8.13 pence per sharei. This compares to the Company’s 2.5% long-term dividend growth rate since inception.
- The Board is therefore pleased to declare an interim dividend of 4.06 pence per share (31 December 2022: 3.87 pence per share).
- Beyond 2023, the Board will keep the Company’s dividend policy under review, nevertheless it is currently forecasting to continue its long-term projected dividend growth rate of c.2.5%, such that the 2024 dividend target is 8.33 pence per share[i].
- Assuming the FY 2023 dividend target of 8.13p, the Company’s prospective dividend yield is c.6.3%[ii].
- The Company has maintained its cash dividend cover in the period of 1.2x[iii] (31 December 2022: 1.2x).
- The Company maintained strong inflation-linkage at 0.7%[iv], generating long-term real rates of shareholder returns notwithstanding volatile macroeconomic conditions.
- The share price as at 30 June 2023 implied a projected net return for INPP of 8.7%[v] which was 4.4%[vi] more than that of a 30-year UK government bond[vii].
- During the period, the portfolio continued to perform in line with expectations with 100% of the investment portfolio’s overall forecast distributions received by the Company.
- The Company’s Net Asset Value (‘NAV') reduced by 2.4% to 155.2 pence per share (31 December 2022: 159.1 pence). The decline is principally driven by an increase in the discount rates used to value the forecast cashflows, partially offset by the positive impact of the portfolio’s inflation-linkage and higher cash deposit rates.
- IFRS profit before tax was £0.3 million (H1 2022: £219.9 million), principally reflective of the unrealised fair value loss on the portfolio in the period.
- The Company’s shares maintain a low correlation to the FTSE All Share Index, of 0.27 over the 12 months to 30 June 2023 (31 December 2022: 0.33).
PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE AND ASSET STEWARDSHIP
Responsible investment is a core component of the Company’s ability to deliver essential public services, maintain relationships with its clients and local communities, and preserve and grow the long-term value of each investment. The references to UN Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs') below refer to the contribution of each mentioned asset to defined SDGs.
Digital infrastructure | SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
During the period, the Company through the National Digital Infrastructure Fund (‘NDIF’) agreed the sale of its interest in Airband, with the sale completing shortly after period-end. INPP first invested in Airband in 2018 and has supported Airband in expanding its fibre network to cover more than 290,000 premises in the West of England. INPP has two remaining digital assets: toob and Community Fibre.
In May 2023, the Company announced its intention to invest a further £13.7 million in toob, alongside additional capital from its co-investors in the Amber-advised NDIF. Toob currently has a fibre network covering c.150,000 premises across the South of England. INPP’s further investment is part of a wider £300 million of additional funding raised by the business, which will expand its reach to over 300,000 premises. The investment is expected to be made in 2024.
Community Fibre continues to make strong progress, with the business recently achieving a significant milestone of connecting over one million homes with fibre, and becoming London’s largest 100% full fibre broadband provider.
Energy transmission | SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
The Company’s OFTO investments are regulated by Ofgem, which has granted those OFTOs a licence to transmit electricity generated by an offshore wind farm to bring it into the onshore grid. INPP currently has a portfolio of 10 OFTOs, accounting for 22% of the portfolio by investment fair value.
In June 2022, Ofgem released a second consultation regarding potential regulatory developments underpinning an extension of the OFTO revenue stream. As previously reported, the Investment Adviser is actively engaged with all relevant industry stakeholders. All parties recognise that the life extension of renewable energy assets is required to meet the UK’s net zero emissions targets. The results of the consultation are expected to be published in late 2023.
Gas distribution | SDGs 8, 9 & 11: Decent work and economic growth; industry innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities
Cadent continues to support the UK Government in meeting its net zero target, working closely with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (‘DESNZ’) in supporting its Heat and Buildings Strategy, and Hydrogen Strategy, to integrate hydrogen as a core component of the UK’s future energy mix. Cadent also continues to actively engage with the UK Government and regulators to build awareness of the opportunities offered by green gases in the UK’s net zero transition.
Waste water | SDGs 6, 8, 9 & 11: Clean water and sanitation; decent work and economic growth; industry innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities
Tideway remains one of the largest investments in the Company’s portfolio by fair value. Construction has continued to progress, with overall works approximately 90% complete at 30 June 2023. The tunnelling phase was completed in 2022 and the focus is now principally on the completion of the secondary lining and the upcoming system commissioning phase. The estimated cost of the project is currently £4.5 billion, representing a 2% increase since costs were last reported in March 2023 (largely due to inflation).
To mitigate concerns around the financial difficulties faced by Thames Water, and the extent to which this affects the Tideway project, the Company has sought to provide clarity to its investors, confirming that Thames Water and Tideway are completely separate companies. Whilst Thames Water possesses a licence requirement to collect Tideway’s revenues from its customers and pass those amounts to Tideway, statutory and regulatory protections are in place to mitigate the risk of disruption to the receipt of revenues in the event that Thames Water’s financial position worsens. The matter is not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s investment in Tideway.
The Company continues to maintain its disciplined approach to making new investments; something which is increasingly important to emphasise given prevailing market conditions. The Company made £108.1 million of investments during the period, largely focused on commitments made in previous periods. These were:
- PPP portfolio, New Zealand: In June 2023, the Company successfully reached financial close on its acquisition of five New Zealand availability-based social infrastructure investments. The investment of c.£107.3 million marks the Company’s first expansion in the mature New Zealand market. The investments further support diversifying INPP’s investment portfolio and also complement its existing activity in Australia. The investments are operational and delivering long-term stable cash flows linked to inflation, in line with the Company’s overarching pursuit of disciplined investment activity.
- Ealing Building Schools for the Future (‘BSF’), UK: In March 2023, the Company acquired a further 20% investment in Ealing BSF for c.£0.7 million, increasing its holding to 100%. The BSF scheme provides educational facilities to over 1,400 pupils.
The Company also refers to long-standing investment commitments of £17.0 million in two Australian projects, both of which are supported by letters of credit already issued under the Company’s Corporate Debt Facility (‘CDF’). These commitments include £10.0 million into the Flinders University Health and Medical Research Building, and £7.0 million into Stage 3 of the Gold Coast Light Rail project. Investment commitments are expected to be funded in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Two further long-standing investment opportunities, the Moray East OFTO, and a further investment in toob, an existing digital infrastructure investment, remain under consideration and will only be acquired should circumstances justify.
CAPITAL ALLOCATION AND DISCOUNT MANAGEMENT
- The Board and its Investment Adviser continue to believe the discount to the NAV at which the Company's shares are trading materially undervalues the Company and have actively considered actions that it may take to address the issue.
- Post period-end, the Company completed the divestment of Airband, a UK fibre to the premise and fixed wireless access network. The proceeds of the sale of Airband (mentioned above) together with free cashflow have repaid £20 million of the CDF.
- Following the repayment, the £350 million CDF is c.£104 million utilised, (including c.£17 million committed by way of letters of credit), with gross fund level leverage therefore representing only c.3% of the Company’s 30 June 2023 NAV. The maturity date of the CDF was extended from March 2024 to June 2025.
- In addition to a strong focus on efficient balance sheet management and reducing, to the extent possible, the use of the Company’s CDF, the Company also intends to realise value from its existing portfolio, the proceeds of which will be used to further reduce corporate indebtedness.
Mike Gerrard, Chair of International Public Partnerships, said: “INPP’s high-quality portfolio continues to perform exceptionally well where the Company received 100% of cash distributions from the 143 assets we manage. The Board continues to be disappointed by the persistent discount to NAV and we are committed to addressing it as best as we can. In the near-term, this includes pursuing asset realisations to reduce corporate leverage. We maintain high confidence in the future of the Company, reflected in the 5% increase in the 2023 dividend target. INPP continues to provide a compelling opportunity to receive long-term real returns and the value of the Company’s inflation-linkage is even more critical in this macroeconomic environment.”
INPP, together with its infrastructure sector peers and the broader listed infrastructure trust universe, has continued to navigate the headwinds created by market volatility.
The outlook for infrastructure remains strong, with infrastructure investment and performance remaining high priorities for governments in the countries in which INPP invests
The Board remains confident in the essential role that core infrastructure plays in national prosperity, economic resilience and the transition to net zero. These characteristics will ultimately restore closer alignment between these sector fundamentals and their valuation by financial markets, underpinning long-term investor appetite for the sector, and INPP, as a result.
The 2023 Half-yearly Financial Report for the six months to 30 June 2023 has today been published on the Company's website, along with a copy of the results presentation, and can be accessed and downloaded at https://www.internationalpublicpartnerships.com/investors/results-reports-presentations-and-circulars/.
In compliance with LR 9.6.1, a copy of the 2023 Half-yearly Financial Report has been submitted to the National Storage Mechanism and will shortly be available for inspection at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism.
In accordance with DTR 6.3.5(1A), the regulated information required under DTR 6.3.5 is available in unedited full text within the 2023 Half-year Financial Report as uploaded and available on the National Storage Mechanism and on the Company's website as noted above.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Ed Berry / Mitch Barltrop / Jenny Boyd
+44 (0) 7703 330 199 / (0) 7807 296 032 / (0) 7971 005 577
About International Public Partnerships (‘INPP’):
INPP is a listed infrastructure investment company that invests in global public infrastructure projects and businesses, which meets societal and environmental needs, both now, and into the future.
INPP is a responsible, long-term investor in over 140 infrastructure projects and businesses. The portfolio consists of utility and transmission, transport, education, health, justice and digital infrastructure projects and businesses, in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America. INPP seeks to provide its shareholders with both a long-term yield and capital growth.
Amber Infrastructure Group (‘Amber’) is the Investment Adviser to INPP and consists of approximately 180 staff who are responsible for the management of, advice on and origination of infrastructure investments.
This announcement contains information that is inside information for the purposes of the UK version of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 which is part of UK law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (as amended and supplemented from time to time).
This announcement does not constitute a prospectus relating to the Company and does not constitute, or form part of, any offer or invitation to sell or issue, or any solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for, any shares in the Company in any jurisdiction nor shall it, or any part of it, or the fact of its distribution, form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with or act as any inducement to enter into, any contract therefor. The issuance programme, as described in Part VI of the Prospectus issued by the Company on 8 April 2022, available on the website, is closed.
Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and accordingly the Company's actual future financial results and operational performance may differ materially from the results and performance expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as at the date of this announcement. The Company, Amber and Numis Securities Limited expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect actual results or any change in the assumptions, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based unless required to do so by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Prospectus Regulation Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority or other applicable laws, regulations or rules.
[i] Future profit projection and dividends cannot be guaranteed. Projections are based on current estimates and may vary in future.
[ii] Based on the closing share price of 129.6 pence per share as at 30 June 2023. Future profit projection and dividends cannot be guaranteed. Projections are based on current estimates and may vary in future.
[iii] Cash dividend payments to investors are paid from net operating cash flow before capital activity.
[iv] Calculated by running a ‘plus 1.0%’ inflation sensitivity for each investment and solving each investment’s discount rate to return the original valuation. The inflation-linked return is the increase in the portfolio weighted average discount rate.
[v] This is calculated based on INPP’s weighted average discount rate, less the ongoing charges ratio, adjusted to reflect the share price discount to the NAV using published sensitivities.
[vi] As at 30 June 2023.
[vii] Referenced owing to the UK weighting of the portfolio and the weighted average investment tenor of c.37 years.